HomeResearch projectsProjects Call 2017 (ARIMNet2)BOVISOL

BOVISOL- Breeding and management practices of indigenous bovine breeds: Solutions towards a sustainable future 


  • Aissam Bousbia, 8 Mai 1945 University; Algeria

  • Samia BenSaid, Ecole supérieure d’Agriculture du Kef; Tunisia





The Mediterranean communities traditionally have been formed around animal husbandry. The animals provided all the necessities for the household e.g. food, clothing, labor etc. Bovine farming especially, was an essential primary sector since cattle produced a variety of products (milk, meat, hides) and also helped in earth cultivation. The indigenous breeds evolved under specific local environments and became very well adapted to micro climate conditions and the needs of the communities. Nevertheless, as the communities became larger and the need for higher production emerged, both the local breeds and the traditional farming systems were more or less abandoned and the modern way of production took their place. Improved breeds were selected and imported, and a more intensive way of production became the rule. This doesn’t mean that the traditional bovine farming became extinct. Several farms still exist and produce local animal products but they face a number of challenges that need to be addressed, if the traditional farming system is to be sustainable in the future.If something is traditional, it doesn’t mean that it is also suitable for the modern production environment. Sometimes, the farmers insist on practices that are outdated and counterproductive just because they follow the traditional animal husbandry methods taught from their ancestors. On the other hand, these traditional animal husbandry methods have a strong bond with the breeds and the local products produced. Under this spectrum, it is of great importance to document and describe the entire spectrum of the husbandry practices of local bovine breeds, as well as their productive characteristics and importance of the products produced. As soon as there is an overall perspective of the breeds and production systems there are a number of improvements that could be proposed in terms of animal breeding, feeding practices, hygiene conditions and product quality certification that would improve the productive system without altering its traditional label. Nowadays, the consumers are extremely demanding in terms of traceability and quality of animal products as well as environmental sustainability. Moreover, the consumers need a clear correspondence between the quality characteristics and the price of a product. Therefore, there is a need for cooperation between the traditional farmers and the scientific community in order to bring the traditional bovine farming to the next level.The local bovine breeds are part of the landscape and the biodiversity of rural areas. Their products could contribute significantly to the local economies for the benefit of the communities. These products could also easily be associated with recent food trends like "local" and "slow food" since food today is considered not only a mean of nutrition, but also a way of living and a part of someone’s identity. Finally, an upgraded bovine farming could also serve as a reason for the people to stay and prosper in the sparsely populated rural areas.









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The countries of the Mediterranean basin face a number of common problems in relation to agriculture and food security, mainly as regards the use and management of natural resources, such as soil and water, crop protection and threats to the security and sustainability of agricultural production resulting from climate change...
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Acknowledgements: ARIMNet (2008-2013) and ARIMNet2 (2014-2017) are ERA-NETs coordinated by INRA (France).
They have received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreements no. 219262 (ARIMNet) and no. 618127 (ARIMNet2)

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